In 2004, I weighed in at almost 310 pounds!  I had never before been so unhealthy – I smoked cigars, had high blood pressure and was pre-diabetic.  Always short of breath, I really was a mess.

Despite my poor health, I wanted to do something I had not done since I was a child – ride a bicycle.  Though I was terribly out of shape I bought myself wheels.  At first it was difficult to get going and I only rode once in a while.  I always thought, however, if I remained faithful to riding I would one day do something I had always thought about – ride my bicycle across the United States.  My wife thought I was nuts.

Convinced I had to do this crazy thing, I began to ride more often.  I commuted to work once in a while, then every day.  I planned routes across the United States and even went on a few overnight trips with friends. I traveled everywhere by bike – to work, the market and was more and more consumed with the dream of traveling across the United States.

In 2012, the year I turned 50, I finally realized my dream.  I started on April 22 from Ventura, CA and ended 50 days later in Cape May, NJ.

During my trip, I met many wonderful people.  My friend Ray rode the second day of the trip with me to keep me company.  My wife met me in the hotel every night for three weeks of the trip.  My sister Kathy and I trekked across Kansas together, and my son Zach rode for 10 days with me.  I met George Rossi, the school teacher in Kansas who was also a 50 year old bike rider.  Aaron, in Indiana, was so concerned I would get hit by a car he insisted on giving me a ride and we spent a few hours together.

I will never forget the excitement I had while alone on the road, but could always count on a wave from passing motorists, a smile from a store clerk or texts and posts from my friends reading the “joeonabike.com” blog.

Now 9 years after I got back in the saddle, I am 70 pounds lighter and no longer have hypertension or diabetes.  I am happier in work, my marriage, my relationships and in my life.

Albert Einstein said “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Living life, on YOUR terms, is a miraculous, wondrous thing.